Homeowner on the hook to pay for sewer damage after heavy rains

LISLE, Ill. -- A sewer back up in Lisle has filled the basements of several homes with several feet of water.  And now the homeowners are on the hook for the expensive cleanup.

The eight inches of rain two Saturdays ago, a record setting amount, caused damage in Kari Altpeter home in unincorporated Lisle, specifically the basement.

Sewage backup came through a drain and anything that came into contact with it had to be thrown out.

“I lost all my files, records ... and documentation that I had,” Kari said.

Cherished Christmas decorations, photos, momentos and heirlooms that can't be replaced now  were tossed in a dumpster in the driveway.

As an asthmatic, the contaminated water, which was nearly two feet, also made it harder to breath she says.

Things soon went from bad to worse for her. The area is serviced by Illinois American Water. Kari is relatively new to the subdivision and only recently learned that her home should have been retrofitted with an overhead sewer.

“I was never aware,” she said.

Since then, she's learned several other homes in the area that flooded also did not have the overhead sewer as well.

When she called Illinois American Water, she was told they will not cover it.

WGN News reached out to the utility who tells us there was no system failure but that it sympathizes with homeowners such as Kari's.

A senior operations manager said "We will review our external communications to customers to see if any improvements can be made to better inform residents of their responsibilities."

Illinois American Water offers a loan program to get the overhead sewer installed which will cost at least $5000.00.

Kari has since applied but feels she should've been told about when she bought the house.

“I was never aware there is such a program,” she said.

She says she'll be filing a complaint with  Illinois Commerce Commission and is considering a lawsuit as well.